Ausra, Schmidt can heal communicationPublished 9:49pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012
To the voters of the Dowagiac Union School District:
I urge all citizens who care about our schools to cast their vote Tuesday, Nov. 6, for Ruth Ausra and Larry Schmidt, who are running for seats on the Dowagiac Union Schools Board of Education.
Ruth and Larry are individuals who have both been active in our schools and community. They are graduates of Dowagiac Union High School and are committed to our community and the education of all our children.
They also both understand the role of the board of education is not only to set policy and make sure it is carried out, but to also speak for the community in holding the superintendent accountable for his actions.
This is done with written evaluations, goal-setting and discussing areas for improvement with timelines for completions. Also, boards represent citizens by questioning and understanding proposed actions and overruling the superintendent when necessary.
During the last two years, I have become convinced that there is a complete lack of leadership at the top administrative level. Examples of this include:
• The “My Way or the Highway” style of leadership, which has created a toxic atmosphere in the workplace so many employees are afraid to question or say anything for fear of losing their jobs. They saw what happened to the business manager, Hal Davis, who was fired on the spot.
• The failure to make public a major “conflict of interest” when the superintendent invested in the former board president’s business while he was still on the board. This was a violation of ethics.
• The lack of any kind of campaign and citizen involvement in the bond issue fiasco. Since most people didn’t know much about what was on the ballot or were not given the opportunity to ask questions, they voted “no,” including large numbers of school supporters. The bond issue was defeated by about 4-1.
I feel that Ruth Ausra and Larry Schmidt will help restore open communication with our citizens in the community. This will create an atmosphere which would encourage parents, teachers, administrators and the community to work together cooperatively for the benefit of all our children.
Superintendent, Dowagiac Union Schools, 1990-99